3D BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5 comments
Pursued by the King's troops, Flynn Rider (voice by Zachary Levi) takes refuge in a mysterious tower, but he's not alone. Before he knows it, he's tied to a chair by Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a spirited teen with 70 feet of magical golden hair. Looking for her ticket out of the tower she's been trapped in for years, she strikes a deal with the handsome thief, and the duo set off on an adventure pursued by a determined horse, a pair of thugs, and an evil woman who doesn't want to lose her fountain of youth.

This is Disney's 50th full-length animated feature, and while I wouldn't consider it to the level of The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, it's very entertaining. There are a lot of laughs, especially from the horse and overprotective chameleon, but the musical numbers are a mixed bag.

Corey Gunnestad Posted: Mar 24, 2015 2 comments
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Way back in the mid to late 1980s, I was an avid comic book collector, and one of my favorite discoveries around that time was a brand-new and independently produced comic called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It lacked the polish and grandeur of the Marvel and DC titles, but it was raw, edgy, and totally original. There was no shortage of blood on the katana, if you get my drift. Not long after that, however, mainstream pop culture bastardized it into a puke-inducing kiddie cartoon and toy franchise. The once-hardcore vigilante turtles suddenly became pizza-eating wisecrackers who over-frequently used words like dude and cowabunga. It also spawned three diaper-filling live-action films, and I abandoned all hope after that.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 25, 2014 0 comments
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Peter Parker’s a recent high school graduate with an awesome girlfriend and—thanks to a bite from an experimental spider—has become the super-powered guardian angel of New York City, and quite the folk hero. But Pete’s good fortune seldom lasts, and the return of his boyhood chum Harry Osborn quickly takes a dark turn—or is that just the new villain Electro sucking all the juice out of the Big Apple?
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 05, 2013 2 comments
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When Marvel Comics’ gang of superheroes—Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye—get together after the first four of them starred in their own movies, you know something big is up. And it’s no surprise that Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, who teamed up with an army of nasty aliens, is behind it.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 05, 2013 0 comments
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Peter Jackson gave the world a beloved, wildly successful film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, culminating in a record-breaking Oscar sweep, so of course, he was the obvious choice to helm the Hobbit prequels. But whereas the Rings trilogy made a newbie like me love it with its epic thrills and fascinating characters, An Unexpected Journey seems to be in love with its own familiar world and everyone in it. We meet a younger Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit happily minding his own business when the wizard Gandalf drafts him for a dangerous quest.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 13, 2014 0 comments
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Thorin, heir to the dwarf throne, is on a quest to reclaim his homeland and unite his people. But to do so, he’ll need to survive an onslaught of murderous Orcs, steal a vital stone back from an insanely powerful talking dragon, and overcome all manner of treachery along the way. Fortunately, he makes new allies in his travels, but while there’s certainly no shortage of characters in this middle chapter of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth epic, it dawned on me that none of them are especially compelling. With their numbers growing, we don’t really have the chance to get to know any of them.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 03, 2014 1 comments
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After an onslaught of Real American Heroes and Robots in Disguise, we often meet a new toy-inspired movie with the lament, “It’s just a two-hour commercial!” And so it is with no small measure of shock and awe that I watched The Lego Movie. The immensely talented filmmaking duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller has managed to tell an engaging story with boundless wit, originality, and even audacity, while still embracing what we know and love about these little bricks and the many associated characters.
David Vaughn Posted: Nov 12, 2012 0 comments
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L ooking to impress the girl of his dreams by finding her a real-life Truffula tree, Ted Wiggins follows the advice of his grandmother and ventures outside the walls of Thneedville in search of the Once-ler. At first, the reclusive old man wants nothing to do with the teenage boy, but he eventually tells his story of how greed and ignorance led to the destruction of the Truffula forest and how he should have listened to the warnings of the mystical Lorax—the protector of the trees. Looking for a chance at redemption, the Once-ler put his faith in the teenager to correct the errors of his ways, although the ruthless Aloysius O’Hare will stop at nothing to deter the young lad from fulfilling his destiny to restore the trees and get the girl.
David Vaughn Posted: Jan 21, 2011 0 comments
A boy (Daryl Sabara) has lost the Christmas spirit and doesn't believe in Santa Claus. He awakes on Christmas Eve to the sound of a train arriving in his front yard. Invited to join the Polar Express on its journey to the North Pole by the train conductor (Tom Hanks), a magical world opens his eyes to the spirit of Christmas.

I'm the only one in my family that isn't in love with this picture and I can't say the 3D experience improved it for me that much, if at all. The story is somewhat tedious and forced, so I was paying more attention to the technical details of the presentation and while the audio is outstanding, the Blu-ray 3D presentation wasn't as good as other titles I've watched the past couple of weeks.

Corey Gunnestad Posted: Aug 28, 2015 0 comments
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Spongebob Squarepants is a fry cook at a popular fast-food diner called The Krusty Krab in the undersea city of Bikini Bottom. The Krusty Krab is famous for a particular burger-type delicacy called The Krabby Patty. They’re insanely popular, and the secret formula is kept under lock and key. Unbeknownst to Spongebob and his compatriots, an enterprising surface-dweller pirate named Burger Beard, played with delightful relish and gusto by Antonio Banderas, has found an ancient text that essentially tells the story of the movie you’re currently watching. This gives Burger Beard the ability to rewrite the story as it progresses.
Josef Krebs Posted: Oct 31, 2013 0 comments
Deadwood: The Complete Series, La Notte, Monster Cars: Monsters University 3D & Cars 3D, and Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 9.
David Vaughn Posted: Sep 12, 2011 0 comments
Banished from Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lands on Earth without his all-powerful hammer and must learn humility, compassion, and patience before he's allowed to return home. In his absence, his evil younger brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ascends to the throne when their father falls into a coma, and he hatches a plan to permanently stay on top. On Earth, Thor must enlist the help of a beautiful scientist (Natalie Portman) and her team to survive as a mere mortal until he finds a way to return home and stop the nefarious plot.

Of the Marvel adaptations I've seen thus far, Iron Man is the best due to Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the superhero. Hemsworth definitely looks the part with his chiseled physique and rugged good looks, but his acting abilities don't come close to Downey's. Despite his shortcomings, the story has enough action and comedy to keep things interesting, and while it's only average, I did find it enjoyable.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments
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How do you make a blockbuster film based on the all-too-familiar tale of the doomed luxury liner Titanic? Try giving it a context of modern-day exploration and discovery, weave in a resonant theme of class struggle and the folly of ambitious men, and put at its heart a romance that epitomizes the sweet stupidity of young love. And don’t forget to execute it all with an unprecedented technical genius.
Corey Gunnestad Posted: Aug 09, 2013 1 comments
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I was a senior in high school when Top Gun came out in 1986. After that, every guy in my class, including myself, wanted to be Tom Cruise. He just epitomized coolness in a way that transcended even his iconic turn in Risky Business. Our Navy recruitment officer was extremely happy that year because enlistment was at an all-time high. No, they didn’t ensnare me, thankfully. My admiration for Mr. Cruise and this film went only as far as the box office and not swabbing decks on some aircraft carrier. But I remember we drove an extra 20 miles out of our way to see Top Gun at a brand-new theater that was the first in the state equipped for THX sound. And it made all the difference.
David Vaughn Posted: Nov 09, 2011 1 comments
The wizards at Pixar discovered that when left alone, toys come to life. In Andy's room his favorite is Woody, an old-fashioned cowboy doll whose status is usurped when Andy is given the latest and greatest space toy, Buzz Lightyear. With the social dynamics thrown into chaos, Woody and Buzz end up in the clutches of any toys worst nightmare—Sid, the crazy young lad next door who loves to blow things up.

In Toy Story 2—arguably one of the greatest sequels of all-time—Woody is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector who plans to complete his collection of the "Woody's Roundup" gang and sell them to a museum in Japan for big bucks. Buzz and the gang come to the rescue and remind Woody what being a toy is about.

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